On our walk to before-school club this morning, my son suddenly stopped in the street and said “Ohh… I forgot to put my watch on!” and then started making that whining noise that small boys make often. Some context – the watch was a birthday present last weekend and yesterday was the first time he’d worn it. He was understandably disappointed that he had forgotten to put it on today, but to me, rushing to get him dropped off so I could get to work on time, it was just something else that was a barrier to a happy, easy day.
The advice I gave him, to try and stop him melting down on the rainy street at 7.30am was this: “We don’t have time to go back and get it now. You can either spend the day whining and feeling sad, or you can accept that we don’t have it, say ‘never mind’ and be happy again. Neither of these things will make your watch magically appear, but the second one will at least mean you have a happy day”. This seemed to work, and we got to our respective destinations on time. However, going over this in my head once I was on the train, I suddenly realised that I very rarely take my own advice. How often do I spend the day in a funk because I am fed up with being at work, or because I’ve overspent at the weekend and now have to re-jig my budget to last the rest of the month? Feeling fed up or cross about these things will not change them; so I may as well just accept them and move on.
I realise the above has little to do with frugality, but here’s the thing – how often have you complained about your lack of money or your boring job then treated yourself to a takeaway to make you feel better? As Ms Frugalwoods points out, this behaviour is just imprisoning you for longer in the situation that you hate. Dislike your job? Stop whining and use one of the many free courses available online to improve your prospects. Skint? Stop whining and create a budget that you can stick to for the following month (being honest about Every. Single. Expenditure.). Try and turn that negative into a positive and I guarantee, you will enjoy your day more! And if you can’t change what’s making you glum – just say never mind, and move on.